How can we pivot our startup?


Our idea mixes social with ecommerce, and we work with retailers to introduce social throughout the buying process. However, we're not seeing adoption because -- and we guess -- people just don't want to shop that way. But we don't know for sure, as we don't know if it's a "marketing" problem.

We are in public Beta, but it's been one month. We have an okay number of sign-ups but actual adoption and usage have been very poor. We have repositioned and reiterated the product multiple times and have not seen much improvement.

I was wondering if anyone has a pivot suggestion for us. We don't know if this idea has legs, but our experience so far has been discouraging. Any feedback/quick thoughts would be tremendously helpful.

Edit: we have also been playing around with mini-pivot ideas, basically positioning ideas targeted at our end-users (online shoppers). Do provide your feedback on these ideas:


asked Oct 14 '10 at 15:51
Alvin Tan
30 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

3 Answers


I don't think you should pivot yet. I tried out what you are doing and I think the concept is awesome.

But... there are two things you can tweak before thinking about pivoting.

  1. The interface could be a lot more intuitive. It is kind of clunky. When I pressed simulate purchase, I didn't see the tiny FB button right down the bottom for a while. I think the FB interactive option should be much more obvious
  2. More importantly, I think you need to work on your marketing. In your question above, you weren't able to tell us clearly exactly what your business does. When pitching to retailers, this message should be crystal clear as well as outlining exactly what using it will do for them. Tell the story. Really work on your elevator pitch and test it on people that don't know your business until you can explain it in a few sentences and they go "I get it!" Until you know you are communicating clearly (and I don't think you are yet) and have got the message out, I wouldn't change the business model. Give yourself a bit more time and see if you can push through.
answered Oct 14 '10 at 22:18
Susan Jones
4,128 points
  • Yes, I agree, perhaps our UI can be more intuitive and distinct. We are working on refining our pitch, but that honestly has been a problem because we don't know what specifically people want, thus we have positioning issues as well. Right now, we're more of bumping around in the dark with marketing messages, seeing what will eventually stick... – Alvin Tan 13 years ago
  • Alvin, instead of bumping around, spend some time talking to customers (or potential customers) and listening to what they want and why they like what you have. That is by far the best way of reining your marketing message. – Susan Jones 13 years ago
  • Also, I came across this article today which you might find useful about the marketing power of FB: Jones 13 years ago
  • Susan, thanks for the article. We are in the process of re-engaging our users and potential customers to get feedback. Most of what we have gotten so far are bug reports, technical feedback, etc., but we'll work towards getting feedback on positioning and pain points, the more crucial stuff. Thank you for the advice. – Alvin Tan 13 years ago


The site is clean and the information in it is clear and sufficient. However, I also didn't know about your site until today, I learned about it because of this question. How are you getting people to sign-up? are you using Ads, Twitter, Facebook?

Be patient, one month is nothing, it will take a lot more time and effort to get more users to sign-up. The key is to keep at it, focus on getting more users, create more videos, talk to as many people as you can about your product and work in your SEO. I searched for the term "Social Commerce" and did not find a link to your site in the first 5 pages of results.

Also, I recommend you read this article, the title says it all:

If you build it, they won't come, unles...

answered Oct 14 '10 at 23:16
4,815 points
  • We're getting referral traffic mainly from web app directories/blog write-ups about us, and we do quite a fair bit of direct marketing. We have a healthy Twitter following of more than 500 followers. Also, we are working very hard on link-building + onsite SEO. "Social commerce" is a popular term, but we're ranked 5th on page one of Google for "social commerce solution," which sends us a fair bit of traffic. Thanks for your feedback, and the article by Jason. – Alvin Tan 13 years ago


DONT PIVOT YET. You just got started!

its an interesting idea...but its VERY difficult to be B2B + B2C at same time. You're selling to two very different audiences when getting adoption / use on one of them will be difficult.

My suggestion would be to pick one market to start with (that will be your channel to the other) and do an amazing job on that.

Also - why limit to FB? everyone's on email, mobiles, let them pick which delivery mechanism they want to send with.

Good luck!

answered Oct 25 '10 at 08:59
David Knies
51 points
  • Hi, we've been focusing on B2B so far, but like you said they're interdependent: tackling one makes it easier to solve the other. That's something we think about quite often, and apparently not doing anything on the B2C side is starting to hurt us. We've also been considering different protocols, as we've heard from our customers that they want more different delivery mechanisms, so that's something on our roadmap in the future. Thank you for your answer! – Alvin Tan 13 years ago

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